Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Test #125: Bacon and McNUGGET

The subject
The McNugget celebrated its 25-year anniversary last year. Not much has changed since its debut--although several years back, McDonald's started touting their all-white-meat construction, they taste exactly the same to us. We love the taste, we love the sauces (especially sweet 'n sour), and we love McDonald's half-assed attempt to fake hand-craftedness by varying the shape. There's only three: The Boot (at left--look at it upside down), The Circle (round, sometimes egg-shaped), and The Tombstone.

Note to McDonald's: Remember when you had the cranberry and apple-spice sauces around the holiday? Please bring those back--they were awesome. Not as awesome as puttin' them in bacon, though--but we're getting ahead of ourselves...

The result
Simple and delicious. We wouldn't make a regular habit out of bacon-wrapping our Nuggets (they already have 3g of fat in each--adding bacon is like throwing Everclear on an open flame), but as a special treat or maybe a party appetizer, they're perfect. We even dipped ours in our beloved sweet 'n sour sauce and loved them, although we suspect they might be even better in our second-favorite sauce (hot mustard). Thumbs up on this one.

The conclusion

Wednesday: Bacon and Taco Bell's 7-Layer Burrito
Thursday: Bacon and Dunkin Donuts' Munchkin

Monday, March 30, 2009

Test #124: Bacon and BURGER SHOT

The subject
The original McDonald's menu--which you can see here--includes just two main entrees; you got your choice of a "Pure-Beef Hamburger" or a "Tempting Cheeseburger," then you'd add some fries on the side. The other six menu options are beverages. You could buy one of everything on the roster for $1.24.

Half a century after Ray Kroc exploded the franchise, the McDonald's menus boast a staggering array of sandwiches, salads, beverages, and other food items, and they're also just one restaurant on a crowded fast-food landscape. Taco Bell, Subway, Popeye's, KFC--a lot of companies have grown to worldwide prominence by feeding people crap food. While Burger King flame-broils their burgers (more fat drips off during cooking than frying), their food still isn't good for you. Not by a long shot.

Speaking of "shot," we picked the new Burger King Burger Shot to get the bacon-wrap treatment--mostly because we feared consuming a gargantuan Whopper wrapped in bacon might actually kill us.

The result
The bacon-wrapped Burger Shot, if it isn't the most delicious experiment BDJ Labs has conducted so far, it's right up there. The salty note of bacon, the savory meat, and the tangy pickle--the flavors combined into a symphony of awesome. During the consumption part of the test, nothing could be heard in the kitchen except happy munching sounds emanating from the mouths of lab staff. The bun soaked every last gram of delicious bacon grease, so we wouldn't advise eating more than one in a sitting. However, if you're planning a bacon party, we recommend you ensure bacon-wrapped burger shots are on the menu.

The conclusion: Bacon + BK Burger Shot = heavenly

Tuesday: Chicken McNugget
Wednesday: Taco Bell 7-Layer Burrito

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bacon Bit #B05: Bacon candy

This woman is a genius sugarslinger. She's the mind behind Das Foods, a premium confectioner based in Chicago known best for Das Carmelini caramels. These little bites of heaven are handcrafted caramels with locally produced cream and a touch of French sea salt, and they come in an array of yumworthy flavors--chili-pecan, ginger-pistachio, chai-latte, and others. Head BDJ Labs tech Jenni brought home a box and ended up downing a box of the classic-flavor caramels (a dreamy blend of lavendar and honey) in one sitting. She's not proud, but if you've ever picked up a box of these things, you'd understand.

Katie started the company in 2006, with the mission of creating non-chocolate candy that was both on the healthy side and indulgent. None of this stuff contains corn syrup, there's no artificial ingredients, and she makes use of locally produced ingredients whenever possible. The formula seems to be working--her goods are sold in 25 states, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East.

"But what about the bacon?" you're asking. We're getting there--last year, she introduced a line of lollipops that, like the caramels, are all full of natural goodness and come in amazing flavors. The one that grabbed our eyeballs, though, is Man Bait--a candy that combines the flavors of maple and bacon, on a stick. Katie has a long-standing love of bacon: "I grew up in Eastern Europe, where smoked meat and bacon is considered a separate food group." They add bacon grease to soups, fries, and all sorts of baked goods. We could learn a lot from the Ukranians.

Anyway, being instilled with a reverence for bacon as well as for fine sweets, it's inevitable that she would combine the two--and she did, in this all-natural lolli. Not only are they insanely delicious, they're also affordable--we cleaned out Provenance Foods in Chicago's Lincoln Square 'hood of all they had (only four left--them babies are popular), for about three bucks. So, for $0.75, you could pick up a chemical-laden, nothing-special Blow Pop or Tootsie Pop at 7-11, or you could have a bacon-filled lollipop, lovingly handcrafted by Katie. Not much of a choice, we think.

If you'd like to pick up some Man Bait of your own, visit the Das Foods Web site or, if you're in Chicago, Provenance Foods.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Test #123: Bacon and DORITOS

The subject
Doritos is Spanish for little bits of gold. While the flavor might be golden, they're anything but for your breath--scientists have shown that the aroma of someone exhaling after consuming a handful of original nacho-cheese Doritos can be detected from up to 12 miles away. OK, not really, but they're powerful. One of our favoritest junk-food delicacies is this simple, yet satisfying, recipe (derived from one we found in one of Jill Conner Brown's Sweet Potato Queens books--go here to learn more): "Open a bag of Doritos. Pour in a mess of hot sauce (our personal favorite is Frank's Red Hot). Fold the bag top over and shake it up. Reopen. Pour into bowl. Eat." Messy as all get out but well worth it.

The burning question at BDJ Labs: How would one of America's favorite snack foods stand up to bacon? We took two chips (only two because the rest of the chips were smashed beyond all hope) and wrapped them with one strip of delicious salty pork.

The result
Gross. The chip turned mushy and gave off a burned-corn flavor, even though the bacon around it was perfectly cooked. We confess, we ate the thing before remembering we hadn't taken the "after" picture yet, but the result was so nasty, we don't want to repeat it--so, no bacon test picture today. To make up for it, here's a picture of Willie the Flower Dog.

The conclusion: Bacon + Doritos = what in God's name is this foul thing that I just put in my mouth?

Sunday: This week's Bacon Bit
All next week: Fast Food Fest--tidbits from dives and drive-thrus put to the bacon test

Friday, March 27, 2009

All About BACON

An important bacon-related video by Karen Nguyen and Vanessa Naylon, two bacon-minded babes in San Francisco. WEST SIIIIIIIIIDE!

Test #122: Bacon and CHEESE DANISH

The subject
It might be named for Denmark, but the origin of this sweet, flaky pastry also has Austrian roots. In the 1850s, a bakery strike forced bakers in Denmark to hire foreign workers, including a glut of doughslingers from Austria. In their pastry arsenal was the plundergeback, a butter-based, croissant-like dough with filling in the middle. The Danish, being the fat-loving people they are, aded more egg and made it their own. When a Danish master baker made a batch o' these babies for Woodrow Wilson's wedding in 1915, their popularity spread, and the name of the baker's home country spread with it.

Personally, we at BDJ Labs find the danish generally far superior to plain old american "donuts"--and Entenmann's danish are far superior to anyone else's. Click here to watch their awesome site animation of floating danish, cookies, muffins, and other goodies, which you can spear with a fork. Mmm...

Wait, where were we? Oh, right--danish. We wrapped one in a bunch of bacon--let's see what happened...

The result
Well, the finished test subject certainly looks pretty--witness the perfectly cooked bacon wrap, with a swatch of pastry goodness peeking through a gap in the strips. However, the baked bacon-wrapped danish ended up, if we may indulge in the technical parlance we frequently use at BDJ Labs, icky. The bacon grease soaked into the danish, which was already pretty fat-laden (a pretty small pastry contained a full 16g), and turned it into a soggy mess. Further, as often is the case with sweet subjects, the sweetness amplified to a level at which even Willie Wonka would wince, and then probably call on the Oompah Loompahs to take it away. We consumed only part of the sample, and decided this test was one we couldn't recommend.

We're sorry, Entenmann's--we'll never mess with your perfection again.

The conclusion: Bacon + cheese danish = too much of too many good things

Saturday: Bacon and Doritos
Sunday: This week's Bacon Bit

Say what?

This has nothing to do with bacon, but we felt we had to pass it on, as we are in the business of sharing important information with our readers, for the good of all humankind:

Overheard in Chicago is just about the funniest blog out there. The citizens of the metropolis that BDJ Labs calls home all full of quotable things which they (thankfully) blurt out in public. The people lucky enough to eavesdrop on these gems e-mail them to Ziggy at OiC, and he posts them several times a week. Head BDJ scientist Spinner (shut up--that's her real name) is a frequent contributor; her most recent OiC eavesdropped convo occurred in a Lincoln Park Zoo lavoratory, which just goes to show that there's no limit to where Chicagoans cast their pearls of wisdom.

Go there now. Actually, read some more bacon posts, and then go there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Test #121: Bacon and DILL PICKLE

The subject
Pickles are the king of condiments; they're great on burgers and whatnot, but we prefer to eat 'em plain--sometimes right out of the jar. The refrigerated kind are awesomest, leaving their shelf-dwelling cousins out in the room-temperature grocery store in the dust. The generic "pickle" is a cucumber transformed by vinegar, salt, and assorted spices, but you can pickle just about anything--onions, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, hard-boiled eggs, whatever. [BDJ note: If you'd like to learn more about the whole pickling thing, catch the "American Pickle" episode of one of our favorite foodie shows, Alton Brown's "Good Eats."]

Pickles are fabulous on sandwiches--but how does a Claussen mini dill stand up to baking with bacon? Well, we'll tell you right about now...

The result
The Claussen (our favorite dill pickle over at BDJ Labs) didn't let us down. That hardy little cucumber stood up to the power of bacon while hardly losing any of its essential pickleness--it was hot, obviously, but it still tasted like a well-crafted pickle, and the thing--despite about 15 minutes in a 425-degree oven while wearing a pork-fat shawl--still crunched like a sonufabitch. This is a bacon-food pairing we'd confidently recommend to friends and family...or hell, even people we don't like all that much. It's awesome.

The conclusion: Bacon + pickle = terrific

Friday: Bacon and cheese danish
Saturday: Bacon and Doritos

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Test #120: Bacon and CELERY

The subject
Celery's a solid, reliable member of the vegetable kingdom. It's great for snacking, fabulous on salads, awesome in stir fry, and fantastic in soups. As kids, many of us weren't too crazy about the stalks, but when some of us were wee little Brownies (pre-Girl Scouts), we were introduced to the marvelous snack Ants on a Log--a celery stalk with a dollop of peanut butter smeared in the crevice, then topped with raisins.

As grownups, we enjoy celery sans peanut butter (and ants), relishing the flavor, intense crunch, and side benefit of celery's flossing capabilities. But how would celery stand up to bacon baking? Let's find out...

The result
In a word: EEEEEEW. The celery's flavor completely drained out--we have no earthly idea where it went--and it didn't take on any bacony goodness whatsoever as a result of the baking process. What remained inside the bacon wrap was a bland, limp, lifeless, stringy plank. While the celery meat turned soggy, the strings running throughout became tougher than nautical rope, and no set of choppers among the BDJ Labs staffers could gnaw through the test subjects. After declaring this test the biggest failure in BDJ history, we salvaged the bacon from the outside and threw the celery away.

The conclusion: Bacon + celery = god-awful

Thursday: Bacon and dill pickle
Friday: Bacon and cheese danish

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The subject
Fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls are beyond delicious, yet they're a huge pain in the tukis to make--mixing the dough, kneading, waiting for it to rise, rolling it out, yada yada yada. Then there's the prepackaged, already-baked variety--edible only if you're lucky, and never as droolworthy as homemade.

Smack dab in the middle is the refrigerated cinnamon roll. They offer the benefits of homemade (warm right out of the oven, yummy aroma permeating your abode, decent flavor)--but without the hours of messy labor. Plus, the can explodes and makes that cool "thwock" noise when you open it. We're fans, and thought the prefab awesomeness of the treat could be made even better with bacon.

The result
Oh, my goodness gracious--call the results of this test craveworthy. We feared the cinnadough might have been rendered beyond mushified with all the bacon grease soaking into it, but praise Jeebus, it didn't. Instead, the dough became crunchy, and the bacon cooked perfectly, over and under the dough (rather than blackening on the bottom from all the sugar). We've had fresh-baked cinnamon roll and crisp-cooked bacon on the same breakfast plate before, but now, thanks to this wildly successful BDJ Labs test, we can have them in the same bite--and we recommend you do the same.

The conclusion: Bacon + cinnamon roll = good way to start your day

Wednesday: Bacon and celery
Thursday: Bacon and dill pickle

Monday, March 23, 2009

Test #118: Bacon and SWEET POTATO

The subject
Sweet potatoes are the bastard child at the Thanksgiving table. They're always there--usually the canned variety, mashed into total submission and coated with marshmallows, of all things--but we're not sure anyone ever eats the damned things. None of the BDJ Labs staff ever did, so we grew up thinking we didn't like sweet potatoes. That is, until one glorious day, someone put before us a sweet potato that had been freshly baked, given the same respectful treatment as its white cousin, and we were forever changed. Since then, we've forsaken the syrupy canned variety, instead choosing the straight-from-the-produce-section kind. They're great baked, mashed, fried, and in potato salad.

One way we haven't had fresh sweet potato (until now, that is) is ensconced in glorious bacon.

The result
Since sweet potatoes generally take longer to bake than the plain ol' pasty kind of 'taters, we were worried that even though we only baked a small plank of sweet potato, it would remain undercooked, while the bacon became black and (horrors!) inedible. Turns out, our worries were in vain--the sweet potato turned out perfectly, as did the bacon around it, and the two were well paired. Every morsel of the sample danced its way down our gullets, and each of us swore that next Thanksgiving, we'd lobby to get the marshmallow-swamped sweet potatoes swapped for fresh sweet potatoes topped with bacon instead.

The conclusion: Bacon + sweet potato = fabulous

Tuesday: Bacon + refrigerated cinnamon roll
Wednesday: Bacon + celery

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bacon Bit #B04: This bacon is Rather Good

After watching his videos at RatherGood.com, you might think there's something very, very wrong with Joel Veitch. Turns out, he's just British, which explains everything--our brethren across the pond have always shown a knack for whacked-out humor (witness the Monty Python bunch, my personal hero Eddie Izzard, and Russell Brand's hair), and Mr. Veitch is more wacky than most. It's possible you'll recognize his singular animation style from this Quizno's ad--then again, you might not. Thanks to its uberweirdity, it lasted all of a week on American airwaves.

As for the weirdness-prone staff at BDJ Labs, we salute the genius of Joel Veitch--his videos sometimes have us scratching our heads, but they always get us slappin' our knees.

Among our favorites is this bacon-themed ditty [BDJ note: We must warn you--hitting "play" guarantees you'll have this tune stuck in your head for at least the remainder of the day]:

And then there's this, a meat-filled salute to one of our favorite German electronika bands of the 80s. [another BDJ note: that little "doot doot doot" thingy you hear is a stylophone, and you can get one from, of all places, the Raconteurs site]:

He doesn't limit himself to meat, though--RatherGood.com is festooned with things like pooping kittens, flying puppies, and a sumo florist. Go there now.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Test #117: Bacon and MARASCHINO CHERRIES

The subject
Most often found in cocktails, atop ice-cream sundaes, and decorating Easter hams, maraschino cherries are a garnish made in the good ol' US of A. The flavored fruits--named for the liqueur they were originally soaked in--were introduced in the U.S. in the late 19th century; a non-booze version (close to the chemical-laden version we know and love) emerged soon after. The advent of Prohibition caused the booze-soaked variety to lag far behind the artificially colored and flavored, booze-free kind.

Personally, BDJ Labs staffers like to eat these tasty treats right out of the jar--and they MUST have the stems intact, so we can do that knot-tying trick with our tongues. They're a perfect snack, and we thought that by wrapping them with bacon, they could only become...perfecter.

The result
We really need to improve our bacon-wrapping skills. I mean, look at that travesty to the right. We thought we had the three cherries wrapped snugly (if awkwardly), but during baking, one tried to escape out the side and ended getting all dried out, and the bacon underneath it burned black. Yuck.

It's good that we wrapped three cherries--the two non-blackened fruits were fantastic. They kept their moistness while taking on scores of bacon flavor molecules, attaining a near-perfect balance of sweet and salty. Yum.

The conclusion: Bacon + maraschino cherries = delicioso

Sunday: This week's Bacon Bit
Monday: Bacon + sweet potato

Friday, March 20, 2009

Test #116: Bacon and BRUSSELS SPROUT

The subject
Brussels sprouts don't get the love they deserve. Not only are they damned tasty, full of vitamins A and C, loaded with fiber, and rich in folic acid; they're also...adorable. I mean, LOOK at them--they look like widdle baby cabbages. Actually, that's really what they are; they're part of the Brassicaceae family, the same happy club that cabbages belong to.

Personally, we heart brussels sprouts. You don't even have to drown them in butter, cheese, or hollandaise sauce--they're perfectly delicious by their nekkid selves, maybe with a sprinkle of salt. As long as you don't make the mistake of boiling the poor little nubbins into submission--just a little steam is all they need--you'll love 'em. You can also chop them up and lightly sautee with a little butter and garlic--magnifique. To make up for their unfair maligning, we decided to give one of the mini-cabbages the four-star bacon treatment.

The result
Absolutely awesome--the staff at BDJ Labs were very pleased with the result. The bacon provided the sprout with the dual service of impregnating the outer layers with salted-meat flavor, and sealing in the moisture, so the sprout's inner workings weren't dry and blegh. After the test, we softly cursed our Procurement Department for only purchasing enough sproutage for a single test, and not enough for after-test munching. Definitely worth repeating--if you decide to try at home, be sure to get enough sprouts and bacon to go around.

The conclusion: Bacon + brussels sprout = brilliant
Saturday: Bacon and maraschino cherry
Sunday: This week's Bacon Bit

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Technical difficulties

The battery in the high-powered BDJ Labs photographic equipment seems to be malfunctioning, so we are unable to download the photographs of the bacon-brussels sprout test at the moment. We'll be back online tomorrow--in the meantime, please enjoy this photo of pre-bacon Porcine-Americans.

Test #115: Bacon and FROZEN BURRITO

The subject
Frozen, microwaveable burritos are a foodstaple well-known to two groups of people: college students with limited money to spend on groceries (mostly because they've blown their dough on beer), and stoners too far gone to have any discriminating taste buds left. They have little in common with the fresh flavor of the burrito one could pick up made to order from their local taqueria, which is filled with fresh veggies, non-freezer-burned meat, and condiments like lettuce.

However, once you're out of college and sober enough to know better, you still might munch on one of these monotonal Mexican foodstuffs--more out of nostalgia, than hunger. Biting into one takes you back to the days when you were thinner, poorer, and dumber. We decided to take a trip back to our early 20s by engaging a humble frozen burrito in a BDJ test, figuring the flat flavor of the cheddar-bean burrito could only be improved by a bacon christening.

The result
Much as we expected, the bacon made the ghetto-licious frozen burrito better. The bacon flavor seeped into the thick tortilla, transforming it from a bland, mushy wrap with the consistency of wallpaper paste, to a crunchy, crispy bacon-flavored shell of deliciousness. Unfortunately, the goopy, beany innards of the burrito weren't permeated by bacony flavor; however, we concluded that if this bacon-rito were accompanied by salsa or some other flavorful dip (maybe guacamole made from the bacon-wrapped avocado from a previous test), it would be more than edible.

The conclusion: Bacon + frozen burrito = yummers

Wednesday afternoon: Bacon and brussel sprout
Thursday: Bacon and maraschino cherries

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We interrupt your regularly scheduled baconcast...

...to bring you glad tidings of a special salted-meat gathering! If you're in San Francisco this weekend, or anywhere near an airport with planes that fly to San Francisco, you need to be at Bacon Cap. Never will you encounter so much bacon love in one place as you will at this meat-ing. Get it? "Meat-ing"?

Anyway, this idea is too good not to steal and duplicate--stay tuned for details about Bacon Camp Chicago (the city BDJ Labs calls home). If you'd like to get involved, send us an e-mail at BDJLabs@gmail.com.

To make up for the gap in bacon tests, we'll share TWO--yes, TWO--tests with you tomorrow.

BaconCamp - The Internet Bacon Meme in 60 Seconds from Bac'n.com on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Test #114: Bacon and HOSTESS APPLE PIE

The subject
Hostess fruit pies are lunch treats that demand to be taken seriously. They're so big and unwieldy, it's a wonder that the average schoolkid can lift one (he can--he just might need a couple friends to help). The heft of a fruit pie, though, is nothing compared to the caloric content--a single Hostess apple pie (like the one we tested) contains 470 calories, roughly equivalent to the count of a half stick of butter, with some sugar sprinkled on top for added flavor--and about as nutritious.

For this test, we cut a pie in half and wrapped it in two strips of bacon.

The result
Remember when McDonald's used to fry their delicious apple pies, rather than baking them? The crust would crumble in your mouth, in a delicious avalanche of starch and fat, right before the molten-lava apple filling would scorch your mouth? That's what this test turned out to resemble--with the added delight of bacony goodness added to the flavor explosion. We would have consumed the entire sample, were we not afraid our cholesterol levels would skyrocket to life-threatening heights. Instead, we savored a few bites of the fat-laden morsels before sliding over to the BDJ Labs assistants. The only thing we can think of that would improve the test would be if we stuffed bacon into the pie before baking--however, that is something we don't recommend trying at home without your cardiologist's permission.

The conclusion: Bacon + Hostess apple pie = fat-tastic!

Wednesday: Bacon and frozen burrito
Thursday: Bacon and brussel sprout

Monday, March 16, 2009

Test #113: Bacon and AVOCADO

The subject
Boy, the avocado sure isn't much to look at--what the hell is up with that big-ass pit?--but it's definitely tasty. Our personal favorite use is guacamole, but it's also a delicious addition to pretty much any sandwich (especially a BLT). Fun facts: the fruit's green, leathery skin has earned it the alternate name "alligator pear," and the word avocado derives from the Aztec word for testicle. Huh huh, we said "testicle."

While the avocado offers a range of health benefits (a serving of avocado contains more potassium than a banana, in addition to a buttload of vitamins), it also has a bad rap for being full of fat. In that respect, it has a lot in common with our much-maligned (and beloved) bacon--so we figured, why not combine the two?

The result
We thought the avocado would collapse into a pile of mush after bacon bakin' but we were wrong--the wedge we wrapped in two strips held its own, both in terms of shape and texture, and in flavor. We consumed the entire sample, and agreed that this tasty morsel would make an excellent party nosh, and that the next time we whip up a batch of guacamole, we definitely should consider adding some crispy bacon bits to the mix.

The conclusion: Bacon + avocado = bueno

Tuesday: Bacon and Hostess apple pie
Wednesday: Bacon and frozen burrito

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bacon Bit #B03: Bacon tats

While none of the current BDJ Labs staffers have bacon-themed skin art, these super-awesome tattoos have us thinking maybe it's time to make an appointment with our friendly neighborhood inkslingers to rectify that situation.

This one's from a gentleman who calls himself "Angry Tim" on his MySpace profile. We love the traditional, "Sailor Jerry"-like feel of the bacon strips, the banner, and the font that "I [heart] BACON" is written in. However--and not to get all skin-art-critic on y'all--while we do, in fact "EAT MEAT" quite frequently, we can't help but think the text at the bottom of this tattoo is redundant and unnecessary, and the psycho-killer font of the pro-carnivorism sentiment clashes with the style of the rest of the tattoo. If we were to crib this tat for our own skin, we'd leave that off.

Generally, we're not a big fan of the tattoos women frequently get right above the waistline of their hip-hugging jeans (such tattoos are frequently referred to as "tramp stamps"). However, this "pig map" definitely gets our stamp of approval. In addition to having a lovely turn-of-the-century retro feel, the tattoo also has educational potential--if anyone ever asks you where bacon comes from, you can be more specific and accurate than simply stating that bacon is a miracle from Jesus.
Finally, we admit that we have bacon on our minds pretty much 24/7/365 (or 366, every four years). Still, we're not sure we'd take that bacon-on-the-brain concept as literally as this British gentleman did. One, there's too much other crap sharing the "stage" with our beloved bacon. Two, while we're all for artistic expression, the tattoo artist got a little too jiggy with the style--the eggs look less fried than beaten up, for example, and the bacon doesn't look bacony enough. We think for now, we'll keep the bacon on our plates and in our stomachs, and off of our noggins.

Monday: Bacon and avocado
Tuesday: Bacon and Hostess Apple Pie

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Test #112: Bacon and COOKIE DOUGH

The subject
Homemade cookie dough beats the living crap out of prepackaged in all aspects but one: convenience. How awesome is it that you can enjoy the option of eating fresh-baked cookies right out of your oven or enjoying the dough in raw form, without having to do any measuring, mixing, or bowl-washing? One BDJ Labs staffer first discovered tubedough in college, when it made a perfectly lovely post-partying snack to share with her roommates (especially if said partying had involved herbal refreshment). Now that our partying days are over, we still enjoy a tube now and then--although now, they've made it even more lazyass-friendly by putting it in precut squares. We don't think it'll be long until they completely remove the labor and just send a Pillsbury rep over to our kitchens to bake the cookies, then feed them into our fat mouths.

The result
We're kicking ourselves for not doing a better job of wrapping the test subject pre-bake--during the cooking process, much of the rising dough mushroomed out of the ends of the bacon and got a little too dark and crispy, and the amount of dough that came in direct contact with the bakin' bacon ended up to be minimal. That was a shame, because the morsel of baked dough that experienced complete bacon coverage was amazing--the bacon flavor and fat had seeped into the dough during cooking, rendering the finished subject fluffy, smooth, and almost creamy. Sort of puddinglike, really. The lab assistants were given the burned cookie ends to dispatch of, but the bacon-dough in the middle was completely consumed by smiling lab techs.

The conclusion: Bacon + cookie dough = gosh-darned good

Sunday: This week's Bacon Bit
Monday: Bacon and avocado

Friday, March 13, 2009

Test #111: Bacon and GARLIC

The subject
Bacon might be the perfect edible, but in the opinion of many BDJ Lab staffers and associates, garlic is a close second. It has a reputation for being a breath killer, but we think that's a bum rap--in fact, one BDJer would prefer if the mint scent/flavor ominipresent in toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, and other breath refreshers were, in fact, supplanted by the aroma of the pungent aroma of garlic.

In addition to kicking the flavor of all sorts of dishes up a whole mess o' notches, garlic is reputed to be a wonder drug. Garlic pushers claim it helps abate the comon cold, flu, sky-high cholesterol levels, vampire infestations, and other maladies. While naturaceutical companies offer garlic in pill form, we prefer our garlic straight up. In honor of garlic's sheer awesomeness, we decided to give it a salted-meat salute, awkwardly wrapping three cloves in a single strip of Nueske's.

The result
Bacon-wrapped garlic might be the best thing we've ever tasted. The garlic came out of the oven sweet and soft and bacony and 'O'-face-inducing. We could be more eloquent about how fantabulous it was, weren't we completely twitterpated by the flavor. Sorry for the short writeup, but we're going to go make more bacon garlic now.

The conclusion: Bacon + garlic = Oh. My. God.

Saturday: Bacon and cookie dough
Sunday: This week's Bacon Bit

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Test #110: Bacon and PINEAPPLE

The subject
Fresh pineapple is just flat-out awesome. While we think the canned version is fine and tasty in its own right, the difference between the tin-encased stuff and the straight-from-the-produce section variety is like the distance between an apple right from the tree, and apple Jolly Ranchers. Fresh pineapple has substance, attitude, and this marvelous tango of acid tartness and (if it's in season) unbelievable sweetness.

When European explorers first encountered the fruit back in the 1600s, they called it "pineapple" for its resemblance to a pine cone, but we think it looks more like a hand grenade (well, we think so, anyway). And explosive as the flavor is, we thought maybe it could get even more of a bang if we were to add (what else?) bacon. Rather than wrapping an entire pineapple in strips (that would just be silly), we took a two-inch section and blanketed that with a single strip of Nueske's finest.

The results
The fruit was transformed somewhat after baking. The texture remained firm, more or less, but whereas baking amplifies the sweetness of many fruits (peaches, we're looking at you), in this case, the pineapple's sweetness dissipated significantly. What was left was a tart, almost vinegary quality. While the BDJ Labs staff consumed the entire sample in the testing process--hey, it was covered in bacon--we declared this result worth eating, but not worth repeating.

If we were to redo, we might actually go with canned pineapple--based on how it holds up when artfully arranged on top of a ham, it might fare better with ham's fairer cousin bacon than fresh pineapple did.

The conclusion: Bacon + pineapple = merely okay.

Friday: Bacon and garlic
Saturday: Bacon and cookie dough

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Test #109: Bacon and PEANUT BUTTER

Note: BDJ Labs is happy to be back online after successfully quelching a particularly nasty virus attack (we suspect vegan terrorists).

The subject
The great George Washington Carver was responsibles for scores of agricultural innovations, including encouraging farmers to rotate crops to reenergize soil depleted by cotton. He reportedly came up with more than 100 uses for peanuts--ranging from cosmetics to fuel--yet it's the relatively simple concoction peanut butter that we remember for. Perhaps for good reason--the mash of goobers makes for a protein-packed sandwich that fuels school kids and BDJ Lab scientists alike. Elvis' reported favorite edible was the artery-busting fried peanut butter/bacon/banana sammich. We're big fans of The King--however, his judgment has been off before (see the Bedazzled jumpsuits on display at Graceland), so we wanted to see for ourselves if the PB/bacon combo was worthy of our burnin' love. Rather than the highly processed, chemical-laden Jif or Skippy variety, we opted for the natural variety--nothin' but nut.

The results
We carefully formed the PB into a small log shape for optimal bacon wrapping, and applauded ourselves for our choice of natural 'butter--the commercial brand stuff would have been impossible to wrangle, and probably would have melted into a burned mess in the oven. While the natural peanut butter did expand a little (see not-very-attractive result photo), it stayed in one contiguous piece, more or less, and didn't morph into a black puddle. The peanut butter actually fluffed up and took on a more paste-like consistency than it had in its pre-baked state, and the flavor was more savory than sweet. With the smoky flavor of the Nueske's bacon capping it off, the morsel reminded us of those nuclear orange cheese/PB crackers--only way, way better. If we could improve our bacon-wrapping skills so that the PB maintained its log shape post-oven, we could definitely see ourselves serving these morsels at the next BDJ Labs social gathering. Also, the whole shebang would be super-awesome dipped in chocolate.

The conclusion: Bacon + peanut butter = fan-friggin-tastic

Thursday: Bacon and pineapple
Friday: Bacon and garlic

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No BDJ Report today

The central BDJ server has been attacked by a virus so unfortunately, the BDJ staff is consumed with the dual task of trying to fix it, and pulling our hair out. Hopefully we'll be back online tomorrow. In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of some sweet bacony Chucks, available at http://www.americanathletics.com/.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bacon Bulletin: The First BDJ Giveaway!

The staff at BDJ Labs is thrilled at the outpouring of support and expressions of bacon love we've received since the launch. We're glad you've enjoyed the tests, and we thank you for logging in. Now, it's time to give back.

Do you have an idea for a bacon/food pairing? If so, please send it to us via e-mail at BDJlabs@gmail.com, or stick it in the comment section of this very post. We'll take the best ideas from the top; each of those worthy suggestions will win the submitter his or her very own tube of bacon-flavored lip gloss from the lovely and talented folks who bring you Bacon Salt.

Peace, love and bacon,
The BDJ Labs staff

Test #108: Bacon and ONION

The subject
The onion doesn't get enough respect. It gives zing to nearly every fast-food sandwich from the Whopper to Subway's pseudo-healthy heros, is tossed on top of tacos for texture and attitude, and brings unsavory foods like liver back from the edge of inedibility. Yet, when a fussy eater orders her lunch or dinner, one of their most frequent requests is, "Hold the onion." We think the multi-layered onion deserves better. One of the longest cultivated vegetables in human history, the onion is worth promotion from a flavor additive or a condiment to main ingredient (try thinly sliced onion with a little mayo on lightly toasted whole-grain bread and you'll see what we mean).

Oh, we'll hold the onion, all right--we'll hold it near and dear to our hungry hearts. In fact, we'll give it the star treatment by elevating it with a bacon pairing. We chose the sweet Vidalia variety from our vast store of onions.

The results
This test is the closest BDJ Labs has come to geniuine disappointment. Granted, the flavor was wonderful--the onion had further sweetened but not fully lost its zing, so the taste paired well with the bacon. However, the texture was full-on mush--it reminded us of the consistency of overly sauteed onions. You know--onions that have given up on life before they're poured, beyond limp and nearly transparent, next to another ill-treated food, like battered and overcooked liver. The staff at BDJ Labs declared that we would make amends to the remaining hunks of onion by preparing it in the Official Bacon Sandwich of BDJ Labs:
* Three slices crisp-cooked bacon
* Two slices Vidalia onion (RAW)
* Thinly sliced apple (Granny Smith or Gala)
* One slice sharp cheddar
* Two slices whole-grain bread
* Mayo
There...that's better.

The conclusion: Bacon + onion = meh

Tuesday: Bacon and peanut butter
Wednesday: Bacon and pineapple

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bacon Bit #B02: Shakin' Bacon

Bacon Salt (www.baconsalt.com) is one of those creations that's so insanely simple, it's brilliant. It consists of a blend of seasonings (hickory flavoring, salt and whatnot) that perfectly mimics the flavor of bacon. This is ideal for vegetarians who miss the savory taste of bacon but don't want to succumb to the temptation of eating actual pig products. Even the baconheads at BDJ Labs acknowledge that they can't eat as much bacon as they want, for fear of sending their cholestorol and blood pressure sky-high--this product is perfect for filling in those gaps.

Justin and Dave, the wunderkinder behind the product, were IT geeks when the idea came to them in a moment of divine inspiration (see picture above). Their first round of financing came (and we are not making this up) through a clip of Dave's three-year-old that won on America's Funniest Home Videos. Since their humble beginning, business is booming, and they've expanded to include a whole host of flavors, including hickory, peppered, mesquite, cheddar, maple, and applewood. Upon revisiting their Web site in preparation for this BDJ Report, we've also discovered that they have BACON LIP BALM! We must order some for the lab--all that bacon sampling leaves our lips quite parched...

The staff at BDJ Labs all keep shakers of Bacon Salt in their home kitchens, and we've found it vastly improves the munchability of pizza, popcorn, eggs, pasta, toast, and just about anything that cries out for the taste of bacon. Jenni, our head baconeer, created a version of a bloody mary with Bacon Salt that combines two of her favoritest things: bacon, and booze.

The Bacon Mary
* Healthy shot of vodka (1.5 oz)
* Huge lemon or lime wedge (about 1/4 of the fruit)
* Several dashes of worcestershire sauce
* 1/2 to 1 T prepared horseradish
* 3 to 6 drops of hot sauce (we prefer Frank's Red Hot--none of that Tabasco crap)
* Whole buncha dashes of Bacon Salt (probably about 1/2 tsp or more, if you insist on measuring, you Type A weirdo you)
* Tomato juice
* Two strips of cooked bacon
Get yourself a tall glass and fill it with ice. Pour the vodka in, squeeze the lemon/lime wedge juice in, then add the worcestershire, horseradish, hot sauce, and Bacon Salt. Fill with tomato juice, then mix that baby up real good. Top off with a few more dashes of Bacon Salt, then slide in the bacon strips. You can garnish with olives (as one lab staffer insisted we do for the picture), cocktail onions, or a whole bunch of other things, but it's fine and tasty without. Drink. Enjoy. Repeat.

Coming up
Monday: Bacon and Vidalia onion
Tuesday: Bacon and peanut butter

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Test #107: Bacon and APPLE

The subject
An apple might not look like much, but it's a tasty, nutritious, and super-versatile little food. Our personal favorite utilization for an apple is to slice it up with a few of its brethren for immortalization in a lattice-top pie. However, that's too much effort, so we usually just slice the thing up (maybe sprinkled with a little cinnamon, or even salt) for a simpler munching experience--or just crunch into the entire orb. If we weren't so lazy, we could use our stash of apples to make applesauce, apple butter, apple muffins, apple crisps, baked apple, apple chips...the list goes on.

However, one way we've never had an apple: wrapped in savory bacon. For this test, we cut a peeled Gala apple in half, wrapped it in two slices of Oscar Mayer bacon, and baked.

The results
This test subject certainly came out of the oven looking pretty--the bacon came out a delicious balance of crisp and chewy, and just a little slit of apple peeked out between the two strips. Tasting it, we weren't disappointment. The apple had shrunk just a little, leaving it with concentrated sweetness, and the consistency was soft, but not too mushy. Had we sprinkled the apple with cinnamon before baking, it would have tasted like an apple pie in a tasty bacon crust. We actually might try that in our home labs in the near future.

The conclusion: Bacon + apple = more than satisfactory

Sunday: This week's Bacon Bit
Monday: Bacon and onion

Friday, March 6, 2009

Test #106: Bacon and PIEROGI

The subject
If you're from Chicago, as all BDJ staffers are, you're well familiar with the humble pierogi. The starchy nosh is Poland's answer to the ravioli--a semi-circle of pasta, filled with any one of a range of tasty edibles. We've had strawberry, prune, pork, sauerkraut, potato, onion, cheese (both savory and sweet), mushroom, and scores of other flavors. If we had to pick a favorite, we couldn't--although our favorite place to munch down on these is Podhalanka, an unassuming joint that feels more like your grandma's kitchen than a restaurant.

Every year, the tasty treat is celebrated in Whiting, Ind., at the wondrous Pierogi Fest--pierogi slingers from all over the Midwest (including several from Sweet Home Chicago) trek to hawk their wares. Bacon bits are among one of the common condiments laid alongside an order of pierogis for co-munching (other sides include applesauce and sour cream)--however, we've never seen a pierogi get the full-on pierogi treatment it deserves. We took a single store-bought potato-cheddar pierogi, wrapped it in a strip of bacon, and baked it for a few minutes.

The results
We were confident in the potential deliciousness of this test subject--and we were not disappointed. The pierogi came out piping hot, and the chewy/crisp texture of the bacon proved a nice counternote to the pillowy softness of the potato filling. We wish we'd been able to procure fresh pierogi from our beloved Podhalanka, but the distance between our labs and the restaurant would be too much for a pierogi to travel and still maintain its full awesomeness. In any event, the Mrs. T's pierogis available in your grocer's freezer case are servicable, and the bacon perks them up nicely.

The conclusion: Bacon + pierogi = highly edible

Saturday: Bacon and apple
Sunday: This week's Bacon Bit